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The Slanted Hallway

Novel By: Comte de Acheron

The occult, the unknown - such a thing interests and frightens most people, enough for some to have curiosity in it. As it goes deeper, the elements of Satanism come in. Speak to anyone about it and it is usually looked down on. It is something that "you don't mess with". Most take this seriously and avoid it at any cost. Others? Well, others tend to be a bit more daring when it comes to Satanism and the more evil of the occult.

And that is what happens here, to a peculiar young man named Faris. One of his best friends, Joshua, begins to notice this - Faris has taken an interest in a strange occult book he purchased at an antique store. The situation grows worse and causes Joshua and his circle of friends to get in deep trouble with this book of Faris's.

Author notes:

Yes, all of the characters are named after band members of The Horrors. It was a bit of a prolonged daydream at first, forgotten as writing, and picked up somewhat recently. Another novella. View table of contents...


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Submitted:Dec 28, 2012    Reads: 36    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


I don't think any of us would ever be the same again. Every time we would walk down a hallway, we would shudder. We exchanged anxious glances. And then we would stare down at the ground underneath us.
But something about it would be okay. It was only okay because we knew what we walked on was flat rather than, say, slanted.
I know many people always say: "Don't ever have anything to do with Satanism." And, well, you can't blame them. From what they've seen, why would you want to go through that? I know I wouldn't. I already have. And it's not fun.

I feel as though everything began when Faris started talking to us about Satanism. Rhys and Tom would look perplexed the entire time, which is reasonable. And Joe would sit there fiddling with something in his hands; clearly paying no attention to Faris's deep, mumbling voice. But for whatever reason I was captivated - and terribly so.
Faris didn't know what he was getting himself into, or for that matter, what he was getting all of us into.
"Okay, we get it," Rhys would say, "You're into it. Doesn't mean the rest of us are."
"Yeah," Tom agreed, "Right, Joe?"
Joe's head shot up, his eyes wide, "Huh?"
Rhys would roll his eyes, exasperated, "Never mind. We're going to the pub…"
And as the three of them went for the door, they would stare back at me.
"Are you coming, Josh?" Tom would ask.
I blinked and glanced back at Faris.
"No," I said, "I'm fine. I'm a little tired."
With a few aloof nods, they left without another word.
Immediately Faris turned to me with a troubled gaze.
"Josh, I'm not sure why I'm interested in all of this. I don't think it is for the sort of rebelliousness that others seem to give in to it for. I don't want to be a part of it, but I do. I want to do the rituals. I…just don't want to be a Satanist. I don't know, it's odd. I…I have to tell you something."
Baffled and rather curious, I turned back to him. "Ah…what is it?"
"I was at another antique store the other day," he began. He was always going to antique stores, "And as I searched, I found this…journal. Terribly old, too - from the 1860s. I'm surprised nobody has found the book. When I purchased it, the clerk thought nothing of it. But it's…a journal, of an anonymous man. It's in a readable condition as well. And he's documenting his…beliefs and rituals. They're all a bit Pagan, but he mentions…ah, well, Satan. Often. I think he may have been a Satanist without realising it. Or something. I don't know much about the whole 'Satanism' thing in that era, except for the founding of the church by LaVey in 1966. But these entries are so…captivating…and I've been following them, like some sort of bible! I don't know, Josh. Is it odd?"
His words had left me overwhelmed.
I wasn't quite sure what to say at all.
"Josh? Please don't shame me like the others…I've no one to talk to about this all."
I heaved a sigh, "I…don't know what to say. It's interesting, I guess. Do you…do you worship Satan?"
Faris grimaced, "Is that the only question you have? No! I don't! Well I don't know…I feel more like…I'm a follower of this anonymous man and his…entries…"
I bit my lip and tried to understand, "All right. Well…you can do whatever you like, Faris."
I looked up at him. His bottom lip began to tremble. Momentarily he rolled up his sleeves and showed me his arms.
I flinched.
"Oh…" I murmured, staring in horror. Cuts of all sizes and lengths covered his arms. "Faris…? I…what…what…did you do that?"
He nodded slowly, "I did. I did because of Anonymous. He says that pain and pleasure should be equal…and that he felt…pain could be pleasure, too."
I ran my hand across the deep scars on his arm, "You…you think it feels good…? You're doing this because of the anonymous guy?"
"Not only because of him!" Faris retorted, bringing his arms closer to him and pulling his sleeves back down, "I believe it, too! And yes! I like the way it feels! What's so wrong with that? You said I could do whatever I like…and I can."
"I didn't know this is what you were doing!" I argued, "Dude. This actually scares me. What if you kill yourself?"
"I won't," Faris spat, "Unless I mean to."
"What do you mean 'unless I mean to'?"
"I don't know."
"You do know. You're suicidal, aren't you?"
"No! God, Josh, you don't get it."
"No. I really don't get it."
"Never mind, then." Faris grumbled. Then he stood up and went to his room.

Faris seemed to be handsome in his own way. His charm wasn't intentional. He had an odd mop of dark, messy hair. Most of the time you couldn't see his eyes. He had tiny scars scattered across his face from god-knows-what. They came before his self-mutilation and before he found that dreaded book.
We all went to college together and lived in some close-by apartments. Faris and I shared a flat. Rhys, Tom, and Joe shared one. Joe came in later and there weren't enough places for him to go to or that he could afford. But Rhys and Tom had room and gladly took him in.
We went to CSM - Central Saint Martin's College of Arts and Design. Faris had an unusual art style about him, and he often enjoyed watching birds outside. He'd draw them sometimes, too. I had met him here and had sort of fallen into watching him. He didn't know that.
Anyway, one weekend I stayed at home by myself. Faris had gone antique shopping again.
"Would you like to come?" he asked.
I sighed and rolled my eyes, "I've never come with you. No."
He shrugged, "It was worth a try to ask."
"See you later."
And after he left, a few hours later Rhys, Tom, and Joe showed up.
"Where's Faris?" Tom inquired.
"Guess," I said, giving him a scornful glance.
"Antique store, I'm guessing." Rhys said.
He sat down on a chair in the living room and heaved a sigh. Tom and Joe mimicked this and sat at the couch. Rhys flipped his hair out of his eyes, "So. Faris. He must be nice to live with, quiet and all. I have to live with these twats."
Tom proceeded to flip the bird at Rhys, who grinned. He had an oddly small mouth. He almost reminded me of a chipmunk - but not, because he had quite the chiselled face, with prominent cheekbones and the like…
I blinked.
"You were spacing off, there."
I spotted Joe at the corner of my eye looking through Faris's sketch book.
"Weird stuff in here," he remarked. I noticed he had a sandwich in the other hand. Where in the hell did that come from…?
"He doesn't like when people look through that," I warned him.
"So?" Joe continued flipping the pages, "He's not here right now."
I bit my lip, "I guess not, but still…"
Rhys cleared his throat. I turned back to him.
"Josh," he began, "My brother's band has a gig soon. Did you want to come? Faris can come too if he wants. I'm sure there'll be lots of booze. You might even find a girl."
"Or a boy," Tom added, smirking.
"Yeah, sure." Rhys said between laughs. Tom was gay, and he had made a move on Rhys when he first moved in with Tom. To our speculations, Tom still fancied Rhys. Rhys wasn't into Tom at all, nor was he into men for that matter. Once he explained that he would "only screw a man if they were a tranny". That sort of pissed me off when he mentioned that. No, that pissed me off a lot. Rhys was an asshole, to tell the truth. But he wasn't like that all the time. I could tolerate him.
"I'm hungry, can we leave?" Joe called. I noticed he now resided in the kitchen. How did he move about so quickly?
"We're still waiting on an answer from Joshua here," Tom replied.
I shrugged, "I…I guess so. And I'll ask Faris if he wants to come. When is the show, exactly?"
"Friday night," Rhys confirmed, standing up. Tom did the same, "We'll meet up with you here and we'll all go together on the bus. All right?"
I nodded, "Sure."
"Come on, Joe!" Rhys called. Joe came trotting in with a can of soda. I rolled my eyes.
Rhys and Tom loomed over Joe, who opened the can of soda and took a quick swig.
"We'll see you Friday," Rhys said, waving goodbye. Tom and Joe trailed after him.
"Yeah," I murmured. When they shut the door and I heard them stomping down the stairs, I heaved a sigh.
I glanced over at Faris's sketchbook. It remained open from Joe's curious eyes.
I stretched and stood up, approaching the table with the sketchbook. I stared at the drawing on the open page, admiring the looseness of the lines in the drawing. He'd done this one with a black pen. It appeared to be a decapitated crow. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion and then closed the book. I set his pen on top of it and stared out the window. The grey clouds appeared to be heavy with rain. A few moments later, rain began to drizzle down. A burst of wind followed, spraying rain on the window. Faris didn't have a car.
I gritted my teeth.
And then suddenly, my phone rang.
Startled, I snatched it out of my pocket. It was Faris.
"What's up?" I asked.
"I'm frightened," he panicked, "I'm so very frightened!"
Uncertainty burst through me, "Ah…why's that?"
"I believe this storm is my doing," his voice shook with apprehension, "It is my doing because of the ritual. It will only grow worse…"
"You're calling me because of your silly Satanic bullshit?" I griped.
"It's not that!" Faris retorted, "I performed the storm ritual and it worked, Josh!"
"So? I'm sure it didn't 'work', I bet it's just coincidence."
"You don't understand…I….oh…dear…it's coming. Can't you see it?!"
"See what? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Look out the window!"
I glanced out the window, "What? There's nothing out there. It's just raining."
Suddenly a flash of lightning blinded everything for a millisecond. I cocked an eyebrow.
"Did you see that?!" Faris cried.
"What's wrong with lightning?"
"It's…it's…I didn't want to have it do that! I just wanted rain…"
"Faris, you're being ridiculous right now. Lightning isn't a big deal."
"Yes it is…"
"No, it isn't."
"In this sense it is!" he argued, "It's a terrible sign…nothing good will come out of this Josh, I swear."
"Okay, whatever. Are you coming home?"
"I will if I don't die!"
"Uh huh. Yeah. Get home, dude. You need to…eat…or rest…or something, I don't know."
"Don't say I didn't warn you," Faris spat, and without another word, he hung up.


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